Profanity and Profane Language

Topics: Profanity, Seven dirty words, Fuck Pages: 14 (4191 words) Published: September 21, 2013
CHAPTERI
THE PHENOMENON

INTRODUCTION

Language is the most important aspect in the life of all beings. We use language to express inner thoughts and emotions, make sense of complex and abstract thought, to learn to communicate with others, to fulfill our wants and needs, as well as to establish rules and maintain our culture.

Language can be defined as verbal, physical, biologically innate, and a basic form of communication.

"We can define language as a system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express our feelings, thoughts, ideas, and experiences." (E. Bruce Goldstein, Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience, 2nd ed. Thomson, 2008)

Humans express their feelings in many different ways physically, mentally or verbally. Vulgar words, also known as swearing or cursing exists in all human languages that perform certain functions. One study found that swearing is not merely a common reaction to pain; it actually functions as a pain reliever where psychologist would advise people to swear than to hurt someone or yourself. However, the overuse of swear words tends to diminish their beneficial effect and will result in bad moral attitude. Swearing is a widespread but underappreciated anger management technique. (Mapúa Institute of Technology, “Vulgarized Filipino Identity: Development of Filipino Profanity”, 2011)

Swear words have manyaliases: bad words, curse words, cuss words, dirty words, four-letter words, expletives, epithets, obscenities, profanity, blasphemy, bawdy language, foul language, rude language, vulgar language, or taboo language. This long but nonetheless non-exhaustive list of descriptors gives an indication both of the wide range of alternate labels that exist, and of the kind of words or language these labels denote. Most people have at the very least a general idea of what such words or language use these descriptors refer to, if not an intimate knowledge of or even personal affinity for some particular examples. One definitive setof words encompassed by these labels is nonetheless elusive, due in part to the subjectivity of defining swearing. In very basic terms, swearing refers to the use of words which have the potential to be offensive, inappropriate, objectionable, or unacceptable in any given social context. The fact that there are so many labels for such words or language use is testimony to the variable nature of swearing. (Who’s Swearing Now? The Social Aspects of Conversational Swearing By Kristy Beers Fägersten)

Swearing is prevalent in almost every culture around the world, with each having its own profanities. The practice of swearing is unique in that even though it's thought of as taboo in most cultures, it's still done by most people. In fact, in America, about 74 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds and about 48 percent of those over the age of 55 admit to swearing in public [source: YgoY]. And linguistics experts agree that young children learn swear words and begin to grasp their power long before they're capable of understanding what they mean [source: Angier]. (http://curiosity.discovery.com)

Children are such a large part of the society and as human at this point in time of their lives they now start to explore different things, most especially on words or languages to say. As we know, children are the most innocent beings, capable of saying such sweet and cute words or languages. We all know how they are fond of experiencing new things through exploration, learning through observing their elders. Sometimes the most unexpected things are the ones children end up copying not knowing if it is a good thing or bad thing.

We’re all aware of that quality in kids. Everyone in their immediate surrounding is a role model to them and this comes with certain consequences. Our actions and choice of words have a clear effect on how a child behaves, as it’s perceived as appropriate. But what if it begins to get out of...
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